Can you freeze spaghetti? If you ever thought about freezing leftovers after a good spaghetti dinner, I have good news for you. You can freeze spaghetti easily just as many people do on a regular basis.
For taste, economy, and wide appeal, there’s nothing like a spaghetti dinner. With or without meatballs, spaghetti and sauce are great for a big family dinner, lunch for the kids, and even for a quick snack for the avid pasta lover.
The best of cooks will admit, however, that they often misjudge the amount of spaghetti they should cook for a meal. So much depends on package directions (which can be wrong about true serving size) or on grandma’s traditional plate of spaghetti and meatballs (which can be ‘way too much for even a football player to consume). This begs the question,” Can You Freeze Spaghetti?” in order to deal with the leftovers.
Image used under Creative Commons from jshj
How to Freeze Spaghetti?
Cooks vary in their approach to freezing this most popular of pasta. One reliable way is to freeze sauce and meatballs separately from the spaghetti itself.
Cooking the Pasta for Freezing
To freeze the spaghetti, most cooks recommend that you cook the pasta al dente or just until firm. If the spaghetti is too soft after cooking, and subsequently frozen, it may fall apart when thawed and reheated.
So, go with al dente. Then drain, cool and bag the pasta, or place in bowls or plastic containers.
Packing the Spaghetti for Freezing
Place sauce and meatballs in Tupperware or other plastic storage containers. Be sure to oil the inside of these containers so that the tomato sauce does not stain the plastic bright orange. You can also use quart-size resealable plastic storage bags or Pyrex bowls with covers.
Prepared in this way, your sauce and meatballs will last indefinitely, but of course, label the bags or containers with the date you place them in the freezer. Also, remove as much air as possible from the bags.
Some cooks recommended adding a bit of your favorite olive oil to the spaghetti as this helps prevent it sticking together in one big, congealed lump– edible, yes, but unattractive.
In addition, many people choose to combine their sauce, meatballs, and spaghetti into one dish, and then put the finished product into separate containers and bags. Experiment with the different methods, and over time, you will discover what works best for you and your family.
FAQs: Freezing Spaghetti
Can you freeze cooked spaghetti?
We don’t recommend freezing the spaghetti because once thawed, the dish could turn soggy. Still, you can freeze the spaghetti if only to avoid waste. If you are making the spaghetti from scratch, we highly recommend storing the spaghetti noodles and the spaghetti sauce in different containers. This will help extend the quality of both components. You can always combine both components once you are ready to serve.
Just prepare the spaghetti noodles and the spaghetti sauce as you normally would. Cook the noodles al dente, never all the way through. Remember, you will reheat the noodles later on and the added heat could turn cooked spaghetti noodles into a mush! Strain the liquids and set aside.
Now the most important step, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil into the al dente spaghetti noodles. The oil will prevent the noodles from sticking together. You can season the noodles at this point but you can also do this once you are ready to reheat the spaghetti. Leave the spaghetti noodles to cool completely before packing them for freezing.
Prepare a large freezer-safe resealable plastic bag or several smaller freezer bags and pour the cooked spaghetti noodles in the bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can then seal. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer. We recommend dividing the spaghetti noodles into manageable portions so thawing and reheating the noodles are much easier.
As for the sauce, you want to make sure that it has cooled down completely before freezing. Once the sauce has cooled completely, just pour it in an airtight container. Cover the container with cling wrap then secure the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Can you freeze cooked spaghetti noodles?
Sure, you can freeze cooked spaghetti noodles as well as leftover spaghetti noodles. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the doneness of the noodles before freezing. If you are making spaghetti ahead of time, you have to cook the noodles al dente or only halfway through doneness. This way, the spaghetti noodles won’t turn to mush once they are thawed and reheated. Also, don’t forget to drizzle olive oil and then toss the noodles so they won’t clump together as they cool.
As for leftover spaghetti noodles, there is no choice but to freeze them as is if you did not prepare them yourself. Just check if you need to add more olive oil to the cooked noodles before packing them for freezing. Then, you can either divide the batch into manageable portions or pack the entire batch of cooked spaghetti noodles for freezing.
Can you freeze cooked spaghetti with sauce?
If you are making the spaghetti at home, we highly recommend storing the sauce and the noodles in separate containers. However, you can also freeze cooked spaghetti with sauce and this goes if you are making the spaghetti yourself or you are dealing with leftovers.
We’ve already outlined the packing instructions above for reference. But don’t forget a few things before packing the cooked spaghetti with sauce.
Let the dish cool completely before packing to extend the spaghetti’s storage life. If you are pressed for time, you can speed up the cooked pasta’s cooling process by running it over cold water in a colander. Divide the dish into manageable portions so defrosting and reheating the spaghetti noodles and the sauce becomes effortless.
Can you freeze cooked spaghetti with meat sauce?
You certainly can. Meat is not as temperature sensitive as other meat sauce ingredients so freezing the meat sauce should be fine. Just make sure you are using an airtight container so the frost won’t affect the flavor or texture of the meat and noodles. And again, if you are making the spaghetti ahead of time, consider storing the meat and the noodles in separate containers.
How to Defrost Frozen Spaghetti?
When you decide to use your frozen spaghetti, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. Just keep in mind, as with thawing any frozen food, that slowly is best.
Take the appropriate portion of spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs out of the freezer and transfer to the refrigerator. Give them at least a full day to thaw out completely.
For pasta and sauce stored in plastic zipper bags, running the bags under warm water or submerging them in a pot of cold water (just as you would thaw a Thanksgiving turkey) can speed up the process.
For single serving sizes of spaghetti and sauce, simply taking them to work or school in the morning and leaving them at room temperature will pretty much guarantee to thaw by lunchtime. Then, reheat in the microwave.
Freezing spaghetti is one of the best ways to maximize leftovers or whip up make-ahead meals. Now that you know how can you freeze spaghetti, go ahead and try it today. Freezing is a time saver and a great way to be frugal with your food budget.